The family system is a fundamental and essential element, perhaps even the foundation of society. Most of us spend our formative years within a family unit and learn much from our nuclear and extended families. A family is a place where we should feel safe, protected and loved.
Recognising the importance of family in a developing world, the United Nations (UN) in 1994 declared 15th May as International Family Day. Its purpose is to recognise the importance of family to all societies and to promote awareness, knowledge, and understanding of the demographic, economic, and social issues that affect them all. Families and family members are affected by those systems and processes that determine government policy and law, and in an ever-changing world, with societies becoming more mobile and subject to demographic and socio-economic transformations, the idea of what makes up a family has changed.
We recognise great diversity in families. Not all families are made up of the same family members; Dad, Mum and children as the nuclear family with grandparents, aunts and uncles completing the extended family. Today we accept that some families do not have children; some families have one parent, some two parents of the same gender; and sometimes those that we consider our closest family members are not blood relatives at all. Sometimes we choose our ‘family members.’ The common thread is that while we may argue and fight with our family, we know we can rely on them for love and support.
The UN, on this special day, asks us to consider those families who live in poverty, who struggle to meet the most basic human needs of shelter, water and food. We know now, more than ever, that some families suffer in war-torn countries, refugee camps, areas of catastrophic natural disasters, and under the rule of uncaring dictatorships. While we have all suffered in varying degrees from the effects of the Covid-19 virus, the pandemic has brought into focus the plight of the most vulnerable in our world, and will hopefully motivate us to help those who bear the brunt of any crisis.
At Green Shoots International School, we are deeply aware of the importance of family. So many of us live away from our extended families, and the current circumstances mean that we are unable to share time with those we love, visiting us here in Hoi An. Instead, we make contact with faraway relatives and friends through our technology devices and make the most of the time we can spend with family members here, around us now.
The UN has declared this year’s theme for International Day of Families to be “Families in Development.” We believe that our Green Shoots family is developing and becoming stronger.
That we too have created a family which includes all our staff members, our students, and our parents. We have recently experienced a global crisis together and we will come out of this stronger.
You are your children’s primary caregivers, we are the extended family that offers love and support to your children, providing them with a safe place to be while away from home. As teachers we educate our students in academic areas, and, like other extended families, we teach them our core values, to become respectful, adaptable, tenacious, independent, thoughtful, cooperative young people who act with integrity and value sustainable actions.
Here in Hoi An we have, as a whole school, considered the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN in 2015. Our secondary students have discussed these further in their Global Perspectives unit. The goals aim to:
“eliminate poverty, discrimination, abuse and preventable deaths, address environmental destruction, and usher in an era of development for all people, everywhere.”
Families and family-oriented policies and programmes will go a long way to achieving these goals.We are the family members who work with you and your children to develop their maturity and critical thinking skills. To become young people who, like previous students, will go out into the world and become the game changers for tomorrow.
Green Shoots International School Campus
414/7 Cua Dai, Cam Chau District
Hoi An, Quang Nam Province